View Full Version : Advice on wooden swing sets

09-03-2005, 09:38 PM
DH and I have decided to get DS a wooden swing set for Christmas (we live in AZ so DS can use it year-round). I have done some preliminary research, but am in shock as to how expensive these things are :eek: ! We are Costco members and can get a Rainbow "Sunray" set for $1500. That's the cheapest set they offer. There are others being sold on Ebay, including the manufacturers "Cedarsafe" and "Creative Playthings" for substantially less money. Has anyone purchased one of these that can recommend a brand and/or a particular model? Any help I can get would be great! TIA!

dana b
09-04-2005, 09:26 AM
i did just a tiny bit of research on these. i know that the 'rainbow' brand was highly recommended and the one that costco carries is a pretty good deal, it was too big for us though. if you want to find one cheaper and don't mind it being used, try craigslist (www.craigslist.org). i got a rainbow set that was 3 yrs old and was originally $2500. for $400. i see a few of them listed per month in my city.

03-21-2007, 12:13 PM
Where'd it come from? What does it have (swings, rope ladder, fort, slide)? and what gets played with? How long do you think/want it to last?

We are just starting to look, but our darn yard is soooo small! It is recommended that you have 6 ft in all directions around your play set.

I know that Sam's and Costco usually have sets that are the "off" brand made by the two custom manufacturers. Costco carries the Sunray made by Rainbow, and Sam's has the Playaround made by Cedarworks.

My kid is really into climbing, but not so into swinging. I'm thinking about getting something with just 1 swing (instead of the standard 2 or 3) to save space. But I worry that he will really get into swinging later.

Decisions, decisions!

03-21-2007, 03:28 PM
We have a set that looks like this one from Rainbow:

We love it. It was spendy, but we were able to customize it (ours has the ramp and slide on the same side, and we have panels on the bottom to partially enclose it). The Rainbow folks also came out and put the whole thing together for us...no mean feat!

DD was 2.5 when we got it, and she loves her "park" She has spent countless hours out there playing on it and is dying for the day her baby sister is big enough to join her.

One thing, though. We have a huge yard and didn't have to worry about a perimeter around the play set. If you have a smaller yard, I would definitely recommend a smaller set or customizing the set so you have fewer swings.

Finally, I'm glad we went with Rainbow. Their quality is excellent, and I am a huge fan of having it delivered and assembled for us. It took 2 of their guys an entire day. Could you just imagine how long it would have taken us (especially considering I was pg at the time)?

03-22-2007, 09:24 AM
They are a lot of money, but they will last a LONG time and through multiple children. Plus, you could resell in the future when your children are finished with it.

03-22-2007, 09:40 AM
We got ours last summer from BJ's. It is made by Adventure Playsets. It's the perfect size - not too big, not too small. It has a rock wall, slide, ladder, picnic table and sandbox and 3 swings and monkey bars. We looked at Rainbox, but everything was too much and too big. Ours was $899.

04-27-2007, 05:26 PM

We are thinking of getting this playset from Rainbow - it's one of their basic sets. Then Someone mentioned sets by Child Life. Has anyone heard of them?

04-27-2007, 05:28 PM
My advice to you is to watch for sales...we just bought this one from toys r us for 400


04-27-2007, 06:54 PM
Has anyone ever built their own (not from a kit)?

Was the hassle worth the $ saved?

How long start to finish did it take?

Approx how much did you save by doing it yourself? (obviously a personal ? so don't answer if you don't feel comfortable)

Apparently FIL built dh's siblings a swingset (dh was too old for it at that time) and says he would help dh build one for our kids. I just don't know if it will be worth trouble after purchasing all the lumber, etc and am also worried about the safety aspect of it. I can also see FIL and dh screwing around the whole time and taking the entire summer to build it.

04-28-2007, 05:16 AM
Kanga, I've searched and I've found that the kit without lumber is one thing, but by the time you add the price for lumber you are basically paying for a kit that includes it. I have not seen any kits without lumber in any stores here that don't cost over 1000 by the time you add the lumber in.

04-28-2007, 10:18 AM
I just don't know if it will be worth trouble after purchasing all the lumber, etc and am also worried about the safety aspect of it. I can also see FIL and dh screwing around the whole time and taking the entire summer to build it.

Kanga - this is one of the main reasons we are going with Rainbow - my father is very handy and if he put his mind to it, could build a playset. However I want it before my kids turn 18 :) I'd also want the warranty that comes with purchasing a name brand set.

We also need whatever set we buy to be assembled for us - we are not handy and I hear from those who've done it that playsets are a b!tch to put together.

04-28-2007, 01:04 PM
DH and I built ours (and when I was pg, too!) from a Timberland (I think) kit, and I will say this: we are handy. We have tools. And we absolutely agree that even though you could design it yourself, it was well worth the cost of the kit considering it includes all the heavy-duty hardware, swings and a good starting point with the plans. Use the plans; they are easy to adapt if you want to change something, but it also saved us $ in lumber costs because they have all the cuts so well-planned out.

We built the biggest configuration, cut down the width (reduced by 1 swing), and ended up spending about $600-700 all in, kit and lumber + extra pieces (slide, rockwall, extra swing, baby swing.) It took us 2 weekends working part time, and needed neighborhood guys to help us move the main structure into place and get the roof on. Both jobs took about 5 minutes.

If you can find a great deal on a name brand, go for it, but don't be afraid to undertake building one yourself, especially if you have some additional brawn & help. We still think the overall cost was a deal.

04-28-2007, 01:27 PM
We looked at Rainbow and decided we didn't want to spend that much. We ended up going with a kit from Home Depot. It was $600 but we had a 10% coupon. My dad assembled it himself in 4 days. I love the way it turned out and the only thing we changed was not putting on the teeter-tooter swing and putting a baby swing on instead.

04-28-2007, 07:17 PM
We took today to design and price our son's playset. I do agree with everyone here, by the time you price the kits without lumber and compare to those with lumber, you are spending about the same. HOWEVER, for us, we are going with our own design and still spending the same amount. We wanted a 6x6 deck and couldn't find that in any of the ready-to-build kits. We didn't want to 'modify' them. So we are using them as the example and just buying all our supplies. We also want it planted in the ground, not just sitting above ground. Our yard isn't too unlevel, but enough that we want to be able to dig holes and deal with it that way rather than level it (we're talking 5 inch difference which would be noticble in the kits that sit on teh ground, but won't be if we dig holes and cement it in). DH and my brother will break ground tomorrow!

ETA: Did you all put mulch down after you put in your play sets? How far around the play area and how thick?

04-29-2007, 07:15 AM
solongtogo, how difficult was it to put that set together? How does your DD do with the climbing? DH wants to buy a smaller plastic set for Luke because he's worried about him falling.:rolleyes: It seems to me that it would be a waste to buy a smaller set only to buy a bigger wooden set down the road.

I see that those of you who posted pictures of your sets don't have mulch down under the set-how is it working out without the mulch (as far as falls and what not)?

05-08-2007, 08:21 AM
We are thinking about getting this one from Wal-Mart...we just cant afford $1k for a swing set and this one is sturdy and made from great wood.


05-08-2007, 08:29 AM
We got a rainbow - it is being delivered next Monday - we got the economy model (I think it is the Carnival package II) and they are delivering it next Monday - the big selling point for us is that they will just come and set it up - DH is horrible with starting a project and never finishing it so not dealing with having to nag him was worth spending the extra money.

05-08-2007, 02:39 PM
ETA: Did you all put mulch down after you put in your play sets? How far around the play area and how thick?

we don't have a swing set yet, but I thought I'd chime in with the recommended impact material (for child care centers). To stay within acceptable range, impact material should be 6" deep and at least a 6' radius around the toy.

05-09-2007, 12:27 PM
We are thinking of getting this playset from Rainbow - it's one of their basic sets. Then Someone mentioned sets by Child Life. Has anyone heard of them?

Growing up, my sister and I had a Child Life swing set. I'm about to turn 29 and it's still standing in my parents' back yard and gets used by my little cousins. So as far as durability goes, they're very good.

I'm sure the model we had is no longer available, so I won't comment on that:p

12-10-2007, 06:43 PM
How old were your kids when you got a wood swing set? I'm thinking of getting one for DD in spring or summer. She's currently 17mo.

12-10-2007, 06:46 PM
We got DS his Rainbow over the summer... he was about 16 or 17 months old.....kind of young but we wanted to get as much use out of it as possible!!!

12-10-2007, 06:57 PM
Does he enjoy it? What are his favorite elements?

DD enjoys baby style swings and we help her on the slide at the park. I figure by spring/summer she'll be better at climbing by herself (supervised, of course).

12-10-2007, 07:02 PM
He's in love with the slide. He loves to climb up it and slide down it, supervised of course ;) It's a long slide so we still don't let him do the whole thing by himself but lend some support.

He also loves the swings - but doesn't tolerate them as long as he used to - I think that comes with being more mobile and wanting to climb to the top of the "castle" and go down the slide.

He really likes his sandbox too - but that's not part of the swing set.

12-10-2007, 07:03 PM
Cool, thanks. It's good to see I was on track with how she'd be using it. :)

12-10-2007, 07:13 PM
aligirl- Where did you buy yours? We're going to get a wood swing set in the spring. Dh will probably insist it be $700 or less. Did you look several places. Just curious since we live in the same area. TIA.

12-10-2007, 09:01 PM
I see that those of you who posted pictures of your sets don't have mulch down under the set-how is it working out without the mulch (as far as falls and what not)?

We ended up not putting mulch down yet. We plan to this coming spring when we work on the yards, but with DS being 3 this past summer, he NEVER fell once. Not off the ramp or the ladder. Now, I'd guess things would be more dangerous when there are more than one kid playing at a time, but since we didn't have that, it wasn't an issue. DS mostly sat on the deck part and played with his toys: cars that he would race down the slide. We will be adding some mulch this spring (since we can't get decent grass anyway!)

12-11-2007, 08:40 AM
DH built a wooden swing set last Spring from a Home Depot kit. It was a really good deal. I can't remember what it ended up costing us but it was under $500. Each kit has different elevations in different price ranges that you can build. You buy the wood separately but it tells you exactly what to buy.

DS was about 14 months old when it was done and he played on it all summer.

12-11-2007, 08:50 AM
Dan's*girl--If you notice in that picture the base for the fort looks to be 2x4's. that won't be the most sturdy really. It will probably work but a set with 4x4 posts as a base for the fort would be safer IMHO. some dads in my husbands daddygroup were discussing different playsets a few months ago and one had the Walmart set and was satisfied with it but said it didn't seem as sturdy as some sets the neighbors had.

12-11-2007, 09:00 AM
aligirl- Where did you buy yours? We're going to get a wood swing set in the spring. Dh will probably insist it be $700 or less. Did you look several places. Just curious since we live in the same area. TIA.

We got ours at Rainbow in Chesterfield. It was a bit more than we really wanted to pay but we can have them take it apart and rebuild it for us if we move and it's expandable. It's also cedar and 4X4 construction so it's SUPER sturdy. But, again, very pricey --- not under $700.

Ours looks like this except we got the higher beam (it's 1 ft higher) and a 4th swing station so we have 2 buckets and 2 sling swings. And, where the chain ladder is (back side) we got a safety ladder w/ stairs so Alex can climb up.


dana b
12-11-2007, 11:40 AM
mulch we didn't put it down, we just have grass and dd hasn't fallen once. there's really only one place she can fall (the ladder) and i didn't see the need for it. we also don't have a 6 ft clearance all the around -- just in the front and on one side.

12-11-2007, 09:06 PM
mulch - We've mulched twice, once w/pine straw and now w/shredded hardwood. I'm not sure how thick it is, but it's pretty cushiony. There is a 6' clearance all around, but won't be for long once this tree starts growing on one side (not a side where anything they use is, kind of the 'dead zone')

age - we got our set (CedarWorks) when my girls were just over 3 and almost 1. They didn't really use it much the first few months because it was winter, so they were easily 3.5 and 16ish months. They both use it confidently, but I specifically purchased the CedarWorks set because of the climbing platforms that make it usable for a child as young as 1. If I'd bought one of the other systems with an open ladder, my youngest wouldn't have been able to use it nearly as much. I'm a nervous wreck at my neighbors houses because their systems all have open ladders and even at almost 2, it's a tough climb for her (she's on the short side).

08-14-2008, 08:00 AM
We found a huge 1995 Rainbow redwood swingset system on craigs list for $400. It is old but seems to be in good shape. The present owners bought it as a floor model. A new one of similar model would be $4000. We thought it would fit in our yard but have realized that with the 6 ft safty perimeter we would have problems unless we let it take over the whole yard. (2 or 3 other buyers have passed for the same reason- too big)

The yard is big enough in theory but there is a huge stump/root system in the best place to put the set (nothing really above the ground but the ground in that area is really wood.) we could make some more room by clearing out some saplings/young trees that have sprung up but we would again need to deal with roots, less work then the remains of what must have been a huge old tree but still time and money. We will probably do that eventually but as new home owners we have other priorities at the moment.

We are thinking of still buying the set but only setting up the fort part and leaving off the swings. That would leave us with a main fort, a pent house fort, a slide, two rung ladders (one of which we would likely replace in time with a climbing wall), a trapeze/rings station, a tire swing (under the fort) and a rope ladder. Plenty for DS to play with. If we really wanted to we could problably get another A frame and set up the swings in another part of the yard but I don't think the swings will be the main draw as DS gets older (he is almost 5 now). We are full time preschool/work so we don't need as much home entertainment as a SAH family. Do you think this is a workable plan or am I missing something.

02-16-2010, 08:48 AM
I'm looking for reviews on swing sets under $600. I've mostly already decided on this set from Walmart ($550 w/ free site to store shipping) but I want to make sure I'm not missing any other great sets.

Adventure Playsets Meridian (http://www.swingsetsonline.com/p-63-meridian.aspx)




It's all cedar wood and measures: 18' 4" W x 12' 8" D x 10' H

I like that is has a play house at the bottom and not a sandbox because we're going to get the large kidkraft sandbox. With the glider and 2 swings, 4 kids can swing at once. I also want to have monkey bars because as a kid I remember that being my favorite part. I'm a little disappointed that it doesn't have a rock wall w/ climbing rope but I really don't want to spend more. This one gets great reviews on the Walmart website (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Adventure-Play-Sets-Meridian-Wooden-Swing-Set/13321212)and most negatives are about how long it takes to assemble, some people have ridiculous expectations though.

Anyway, If you've bought a wodden swing set in the last couple years and spent around $600 or less I'd love to hear what you have to say!

07-02-2010, 04:22 AM
Does anyone know how good the Gorilla/ Blue Ridge Big Sky playset holds up? We found a good deal on Craigslist but I can't seem to find reviews that don't focus on the cost. I want to know if it ranks up there with the rainbow systems playscapes.

02-23-2011, 11:38 AM
Anyone have any feedback on their playset and the length of time you've had it? We've been tossing around the idea of getting one, but DH is a bit of a snob and has decided if it's not a Rainbow it's going to be crappy and falling apart within a couple of years and not worth it. We can't spend $1200 on a set.

02-23-2011, 11:42 AM
my DH built ours 3 or 4 yrs ago from a Home Depot kit and we have no complaints. It's held up fine and was much more affordable

02-23-2011, 11:48 AM
We got ours from Creative Playthings. My parents got it for DD1 for her 2nd birthday (she'll be 5 this year) and it's held up great. We got something similar to this:


I believe we found the set on sale for like $400 (and I felt guilty about that!! but my parents insisted). The set we have has a rock climbing wall, a rope ladder, and a regular ladder all leading up to a fort area. There's a set of monkey bars and hung from that are 3 different "options" - we have a glider, rings, a tire swing, a regular swing and a baby swing. My parents also got a deal on some add ons, so we also have a steering wheel, a phone, a periscope and telescope. Both girls love these options, as does the little neighbor bory. We've used this thing a LOT since we put it in. And even with my FIL and DH putting it up (I so don't trust FIL building anything) it's held up well.

We also really liked that the footprint was small enough for our yard. We have a decent sized yard, but we have a burm, a swail and a brick patio (not to mention trees) to deal with.

dana b
02-23-2011, 02:48 PM
DH is a bit of a snob and has decided if it's not a Rainbow it's going to be crappy and falling apart within a couple of years and not worth it. We can't spend $1200 on a set.
craigslist is great for used rainbow sets. i bought a rainbow set for $400. and 5 yrs later sold it again for $400. right now we have the costco rainbow set from last year.

02-23-2011, 02:55 PM
I've been checking craigslist and haven't found one.

02-23-2011, 06:34 PM
We're getting a wooden set this spring and are currently researching so hopefully this thread will see some action/more reviews.

I've been drooling over these, but they are all between $7,500 and $15,000!!!


02-23-2011, 06:47 PM
We're getting a wooden one this weekend hopefully. It's DD's birthday present but the weather is killing us!!

Here's the one we're planning to get. The place down the road has last year's model on clearance for $600 (so long as we pick it up as is). As long as it's still there Saturday, it'll be ours.



02-24-2011, 05:07 AM
DH is a bit of a snob and has decided if it's not a Rainbow it's going to be crappy and falling apart within a couple of years and not worth it. We can't spend $1200 on a set.

Too funny. After my DH did research, this was his conclusion too.

We bought a used Rainbow set on Craigslist. Hubby is working on sanding and staining it so it looks new again. Can't beat the price though.

10-11-2015, 10:05 AM

We're planning on buying a swing set for the kids for Christmas. What's everyone buying these days?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

10-11-2015, 10:26 AM
Drive to CT and you can have ours for $500. Total waste of money for us.

10-11-2015, 10:33 AM
What do you have? What don't they like it??

10-11-2015, 10:43 AM
I think it's a Rainbow. We bought the model for like $1400 a couple years back. They just are not outside kids. I count off dollars every time anyone plays on it! It needs to be cleaned up and stained-I am selling it as is.

10-11-2015, 01:08 PM
Ours came with our house. It says "Backyard Adventures" on it. I know nothing about swing set brands. It has a double teeter totter swing thing, two regular swings, a tire swing, a rope ladder, climbing wall, and slide. The top part is kind of like a covered play house. My boys LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. They play on it just about every day. Our neighbor twins are 6.5 and they also play on it a lot. If your kids like to play outside, I'd say you will get your money's worth. We desperately need to stain ours though. It takes a beating in the sun here.

10-15-2015, 04:39 PM
We have this one (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Backyard-Discovery-Tucson-Cedar-Wooden-Swing-Set/15642030) from Walmart, and I'm SO GLAD that I didn't buy one of the super pricey ones. I refused to pay over $500 because I just didn't know if my kids would use it. I tried Craigslist first, but it seemed like people wanted minimum $500 for old used ones, which seemed absolutely insane when I could get a new one for less than $500!!

I was really worried about durability and hoped I wouldn't regret cheaping out. But it's been SO great! The kids do like it and play on it, their friends love it, and it has held up beautifully.

We did buy an extra swing thing- I can't find it now, but it's the kind where two kids sit on it back to back and use their legs to sort of row it? It's a big hit. We put it where that monkey bar swing thing in the middle is supposed to go.

10-15-2015, 05:11 PM
taffers. I think it's called a tandem swing? I wanted to get one and DH said no.

We just have 2 swings a trapeeze bar and slide - dh made it so no kit. They play on it a lot though, I think we need to add another swing!